Cartagena de Indias (or simply Cartagena) served as the scenario for Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s novel “Love in the Time of Cholera” , a title well-known worldwide. During the mid-1800s, the city was struck by outbreaks of cholera that resulted in the death of a good portion of the population. But this coastal city, one of the largest in Colombia, is known for far more than its cholera outbreak or Marquez’s novel - the city has centuries of history. Its ports, so close in proximity to the Caribbean, made it one of the most important cities in Colombia during the Spanish colonization. However, the richness of the history of this place dates from many years before the Europeans arrived. Tribes have inhabited the region as far as 4000 B.C. In recent days, visitors from several parts of the world are attracted to this destination for its history, architecture, and the exotic feeling it brings.
Now Cartagena de Indias is also known for the library that never closes. Named after a local historian and writer, Biblioteca Daniel Lemaitre Tono is part of Universidad Tecnológica de Bolivar, and it has been open 24/7 for both the local community and tourists since February 2004. The library was founded in 1971 with 800 holdings and two reading rooms, and today offers a variety of resources. In 2003, the university identified that the city was lacking in public libraries and that the ones available offered restrict services in restrict times. It was then that they decided there was need to use Biblioteca Daniel Lemaitre Tono for this 24/7 project.
The highlight of this project is the service to the population, which includes students from other universities and the elderly, as well as many tourists. This is the only library in Colombia offering 24/7 service. Some of the services available at the library are cultural programs, open shelves, reference services, an archive of historic photos, material loans, and workshops.
The library receives massive visits from university students who need a quiet place full of resources for their studies to research without rushing. In regards to the elderly, this library has become their third place for anytime during the day when they just want a nice place to stop and grab a good book to read.
If you plan to visit Cartagena de Indias, don’t miss stopping by Biblioteca Daniel Lemaitre Tono. You don’t even need to worry about your schedule because this library is open 24/7.
Calle del Bouquet, Cra. 21 No. 25-92- Cartagena de Indias- Colombia
Left to right:Bruce Crocco (OCLC VP Library Services for the Americas), Cheryl King (Barbados), Elmelinda Lara (Trinidad & Tobago),Ana María Quiroz (Chile), Daniel Boivin (OCLC Executive Director Canada & Latin America and the Caribbean).
If you walked by the OCLC Conference Center in Dublin-Ohio on the second week of November, you would hear various accents pouring out of the room. I’m talking about the librarians representing OCLC member libraries from all over the world who came to attend the Global Council Meeting which took place from Nov 10-13. This very international gathering had the presence of librarians from places such as Japan, Taiwan, Canada, Italy, South Africa, Germany, and parts of US, to name a few. I can’t forget to mention that the warmth from the meeting attendees compensated for the cold weather and the snow that hit Central Ohio during those days.
Among those librarians the 03 newly elected delegates representing the member libraries in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) for the period of 2013 to 2016 as following:
Elmelinda Lara - Head of Technical Services at the University of the West Indies in Trinidad & Tobago.
Cheryl King - Special Collections Librarian at the University of the West Indies in Barbados.
Ana María Quiroz - Coordinator of the Digital Committee at the National Library of Chile.
Elmelinda, Cheryl, and Ana María were elected by the member libraries in LAC and they attended the Global Council Meeting for the first time. They could interact with other delegates, the OCLC Board of Trustees, and OCLC staff to learn more about their new mission in the cooperative while being part of the various discussions. They bring fresh perspectives to the table and they are playing an important role of translating to the cooperative the challenges, needs, and opportunities for the libraries in the LAC region.
Elmelinda and Ana María in a group discussion.
Ana Maria Quiroz, for example, has these words to share regarding to her experience in participating in the Global Council meeting:
“I am still internalizing the importance of having attended the Global Council meeting, meeting people from other places and knowing that we have a lot of situations in common, that it is possible to work cooperatively and collaboratively. It seems to me quite remarkable the mission of the cooperative to continue working under the collaborative mode, which in the current context gives that feeling that is not needed, but I think it is vital. I hope to maximize this opportunity and provide insights from my institution, the National Library of Chile and DIBAM.”
”I found my first meeting to be quite interesting. The participants were friendly and OCLC staff helpful. I look forward to further interaction.”- Cheryl King, from the University of the West Indies Barbados.
OCLC member libraries in the Latin America and the Caribbean region, besides of counting with the voices of these 03 elected delegates representing their territory, can also participate actively in the cooperative by attending the Americas Regional Council (ARC) meetings (either in person or via live streaming) and/or becoming an ARC Ambassador .
If you were asked where the home of the books in print should be, you would probably think of traditional places such as libraries or bookstores. The Directing of Libraries, Archives and Museums (DIBAM) staff in Chile thinks differently, however. They believe that the home of the books in print should also be where people can socialize more: the streets (precisely on the feria libre - a type of farmers market). Ferias libres in Latin American countries are more than a place to buy fresh produce from local farmers but somewhere people from all sorts of background and walks of life gather to discuss from politics to sports and new trends, or simply gossip. It has been a neutral meeting point for so many years that it has become part of the culture, almost like a ritual. The place is a natural environment for building personal and cultural identity, thus allowing for the idea of books bringing more colors to the already colorful fruit and vegetable stands.
The Casero del Libro project created by DIBAM, navigates through this idea of extending the library presence to this natural environment where the local community has available at its disposal a variety of books to be easily borrowed without even setting foot in a physical library. The library has identified that this idea goes together with its strategic lines of reaching users in new spaces and impacting non-typical library users. Bringing the library to the feria libre is a way of distancing the concept of reading being something for the elite but a cultural activity accessible to everybody. DIBAM uses the public libraries in the country to deliver this project.
The specific goal of the Casero del Libro project by Biblioteca de Santiago, for example, is to set up the library stand in a traditional place where fresh produce is sold (ferias libres), in Santiago downtown, near to where the physical library is located.
The collection available to the public is comprised of 14,500 items, the same used in another project called Bibliobus (something like a library in a bus). The target audience is the nearby communities, reaching also immigrants from Peru and Colombia. The idea is to foster the inclusion of patrons who otherwise wouldn’t make use of the free resources this public library offers to the community.
Finding ways of taking the print collections to the users rather than waiting for people to enter the library building not only reinforce the social role of a public library but emphasizes the importance of promoting the meaning and purpose of the existence of public libraries in first place. Assuming that everybody, everywhere in the world has access to knowledge virtually is a narrow view of the reality of many developing countries. In some locations, some people are digitally excluded due to their living situation and conditions or lack of awareness that a public library can provide computer and internet access. Others are faced with even harder reality where the public library option is either inexistent or difficult to reach due to many factors such as large distance. The free print resources a public library holds can be put to use though - it can travel from the shelves to the hands of those who will appreciate the opportunity of this shareable knowledge coming to where they are.
Congratulations DIBAM for this initiative!
When looking at the shining round building on the picture above you might imagine that this is a type of ad for the library of the future. In fact, you are looking at the new installations for Universidad Peruana de Ciencias Aplicadas Library System (UPC) , one of our members in Lima- Peru and the first to join OCLC in the country. UPC Library System is modern and cutting-edge not only with its building; the library was the first in Peru to offer self check-out to its patrons and the first in the country to offer Kindle and iPad loan for its electronic resources. self check-out at UPC
When looking at the shining round building on the picture above you might imagine that this is a type of ad for the library of the future. In fact, you are looking at the new installations for Universidad Peruana de Ciencias Aplicadas Library System (UPC) , one of our members in Lima- Peru and the first to join OCLC in the country. UPC Library System is modern and cutting-edge not only with its building; the library was the first in Peru to offer self check-out to its patrons and the first in the country to offer Kindle and iPad loan for its electronic resources.
self check-out at UPC
UPC Library System is always involved in bringing visibility to the projects its staff is dedicated to. One example is the institutional repository project the library has finished recently, and which is being added to the WorldCat database. The project includes journal articles, research reports, chapter of books, and theses. The highlights of the project are the 1130 undergraduate and the 406 graduate theses related mostly to architecture and engineering (of course!).
These materials are adding value to the list of Latin American theses in WorldCat such as Cybertesis , a repository of theses from Chilean and Peruvian universities with topics ranging from health to the humanities.